Superman: Up in the Sky #4 – Tom King, Writer; Andy Kubert, Penciller; Sandra Hope, Inker; Brad Anderson, Colorist
Ray – 6/10
Ray: Every writer who has taken on one of the Walmart books, of which Superman: Up in the Sky #4 is one, has had their own approach to these evergreen stories. Dan Jurgens gave us a classic Titans team having classic adventures. Palmiotti and Conner sent Wonder Woman off on a journey through time and space. Bendis took Batman on a grand tour of the DCU’s strangest locations.
Tom King seems to be using his run to delve into what Superman means to the world, the universe, and himself. It’s an interesting idea, but one that completely fails as an evergreen story for someone picking up their first Superman tale. These individual twelve-page stories, each a snapshot of another bizarre moment in Superman’s journey, are frequently filled with violence and dark themes.
The first one this month, a retelling of Superman’s famous race with the Flash, has some great splash pages but is overrun by lengthy dialogue – sometimes with ten captions to a page as the narrator retells their memories of the race. The reveal of the narrator’s identity is troubling, and the story randomly drops some disturbing bits about the awful abuse and trauma they experienced.
The second story is a little more hopeful, but no less strange as Superman and Clark Kent find themselves on an alien planet of ice, torn on what to do next. Clark is an ordinary human, while Superman is a collared elitist Kryptonian who believes the greater good overrules the life of one person. There’s an alien mammoth and lots of philosophical discussion, but nothing in the way of explanation of how they wound up this way or how it plays into the main story.
After a while, this series starts to feel like a series of very attractive non-sequiters that do little but let King express his vision of what Superman means to him. They make for intriguing essays on the character, but two thirds of the way through the story and I still don’t really feel a cohesive story here.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.